" ITREALMS: November 2019


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Friday, November 29, 2019

Financial inclusion and rise of payment - ITREALMS

Technology is an almost indispensable part of human history. It has however never quite progressed as projected. It almost always manages to beat expectations. The automobile, the television and even the computer all defied expectations. One of the biggest fears about technology was always about job loss. This fear never quite materialised.

Technology always manages to achieve net job gain. Rather than take jobs, technology constantly creates jobs and sometimes even whole new industries thus boosting productivity. After all is said and done, technology is now an ally, an ally to humans, an ally for human development.

On the flip side, a major challenge for development is poverty. it has been described as easily one of the most prevalent and challenging issues in the world. Beyond the definitions and categorisation, however, the stark reality is that poverty is deprivation. According to the United Nations (UN), “To be poor is to be deprived. And the worst kind of deprivation is financial exclusion.”

It is precisely the desire to curb, curtail or else eliminate financial exclusion that has financial inclusion has become a real big deal in the last decade.

And why not, traditional banks have struggled to reach large segments of the population, both in the urban and rural areas. They have struggled to reach the unbanked. They have struggled to provide services beyond the formal settings.

Banks have been unable to achieve financial inclusion. New ideas are needed. New methods are required. New technologies must come to play.

Thankfully, it is already beginning to happen. It started with payments. In the first instance card and later gradually online payments until eCommerce started to buzz. Interswitch is a pioneer in this space. Now, it has graduated to the level of firms, technology firms, offering the full range of financial services.

Today, these firms, technology firms offering financial services are aptly referred to as fintechs. They are at the root of disruption ravaging the financial services sector and are spreading fast. They are working actively to change the narrative. They seem committed to contributing to efforts to close the financial inclusion gap. They are emerging as the real MVP of financial inclusion.

Fintech, according to Investopedia, is used to describe new tech that seeks to improve and automate the delivery and use of financial services.

Fintechs are however not only technology-driven but equally deeply customer-focused, data-powered and service-oriented. They are also currently springing up like mushrooms across the country. This is not surprising as emerging markets, such as Nigeria, are the today the hotbeds for producing smart and simple financial solutions at an incredibly rapid rate. This makes sense in a country where so many are currently financially excluded.

In using modern technologies innovatively to enhance the delivery of financial products and services, fintechs find themselves not just providing alternative finance but in direct competition with banks.

This need not be the case. Yes, for a long time, fintechs offered mobile-only propositions because they lacked the legacy infrastructure and associated costs of the banks. Banks, on the other hand, lack the technology and agility of the fintechs.

But now, the future is in collaboration. No, not a competition, but cooperation and collaboration. At this point, banks and fintech must find a way to shake hands and get things done. There are huge opportunities to bridge the gap if the parties will collaborate. They must go together if the goal is true financial inclusion.

The opportunity is huge. Unconfirmed reports indicate that over 90 per cent of transactions in Nigeria are still cash-based. The opportunity to provide financial services is enormous. Every player in the sector must therefore actively collaborate to bring in a substantial portion of the 90 per cent into the formal system.

Here again, fintechs are showing the way. The driving payments as a strategy to boost financial inclusion. This is precisely why the emergence of new players like Opay is welcomed. A new fintech that entered the market with a completely new business model, one that may just be the way to go.

Opay is ensuring that a growing number of people to use its digital payments solution by offering everyday services. Think ORide, OFood, OBus and others.

Fintechs are enabling payments, increasing the number of people with access to financial services and creating jobs. Consider the massive number of agents that now dots the landscape. It is therefore not far-fetched to think that fintechs are driving financial inclusion and jump-starting efforts to free people from the clutches of poverty.

Besides, fintechs are pushing the frontier. They are rapidly expanding the borders from basic financial service such as payment to lending, savings and insurance among others. They can leverage data analytics to provide personalised loans, improve the loan disbursement timeline and promote prompt, somethings almost same day quick loans.

Firms such as Renmoney are in this space, promoting unprecedented access to quick loans. It is now so easy for anyone that desires quick loans (business or personal) to access it.

Financial inclusion, according to the World Bank, means that “individuals and businesses have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs – transactions, payments, savings, credit and insurance – delivered responsibly and sustainably.” Fintechs are making this a reality for millions of Nigerians. It is beyond commendable.

Without a doubt, the association between financial inclusion efforts and the reduction of poverty rates is a key driver for the future expansion of digital financial services (DFS).

Progress has been made. Reports indicate that about 50 per cent of adults in the country have access to financial services. It can be better. A lot more still needs to be done.

Thankfully, some banks have seen the light. They are promoting services using USSD, such that customers with the most basic mobile phones can perform essential banking services.

Here, consider Stanbic IBTC’s *909# among others. ALAT by Wema, a first in its class, is also worthy of study. With USSD and other mobile financial solutions, people can access top-notch financial services without stepping into a bank.

Also, now that the telecoms behemoths are getting into mobile money and digital financial services, a huge leap is imminent. They are expected to help advance the quest to reach the unbanked with financial services. this is plausible as there are currently over 150 million connected lines in Nigeria.

The licensing telecoms service providers is a great way to democratise access to financial services in Nigeria. There are reports that MTN plans to roll out over five hundred thousand MoMo Agent across the country, through it Y’ello Digital Financial Services (YDFS) subsidiary.

This is the future. The future is already here.

Undeniably for the benefits of technology to successfully and fully harnessed to improve financial inclusion in Nigeria the right developmental and regulatory framework must be in place.

As the world looks to end poverty, technology and fintechs are in the thick of things. Access to financial services is on the rise. The government should focus on enabling the safe and sustainable development of this critical section of the economy.

Policies that seek penalise for using e-payment must be abolished, regulations that restrain e-commerce must be scrapped and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) must shelf the plan to tax online transactions.

Fintechs and indeed all technology solutions providers deserve a break. They are today driving financial inclusion. They are heroes of Nigeria’s financial inclusion success story. They are helping to end poverty.

*Elvis Eromosele, a Corporate Communication professional and public affairs analyst lives in Lagos.

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Thursday, November 28, 2019

Ministry lied on mobile data cost: Nigeria among 5 cheapest countries - ITREALMS

Latest study has shown that Nigeria is among the top five cheapest countries of the world on mobile data, ITREALMS can authoritatively report.

ITREALMS investigations, revealed that the study conducted recently by the United Kingdom (UK)-based Cableidentified Nigeria as the fourth cheapest mobile data worldwide, thereby disputing greatly the recent claims by the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy that Nigeria ranks among the highest in data price.

This study, 
ITREALMS gathered, also placed Nigeria among the top five cheapest countries as far as cost of mobile data is concerned, with estimated data costing $2.22, based on average cost of 1 Gigabyte of mobile data per country.

Further investigations by 
ITREALMS indicated that the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy lied when it recently posited that Nigeria was among the highest on cost of data, asserting “… data price being charged in Nigeria is among the highest even compared to countries that have far less population than Nigeria.”

As it stands, 
ITREALMS reports that India is leading as the cheapest country for mobile data selling at $0.26, followed by Russia with $0.91 and Italy $1.73 with Nigeria coming fourth at $2.22, followed closely by Australia with $2.47, within the top five cheapest countries.

ITREALMS further gathered that France got the 6th position with mobile data selling at $2.99, followed by Brazil at $3.50, Spain at $3.79, United Kingdom took the 9th position with $6.66 and Germany crowned the top 10 cheapest on average cost of 1GB mobile data at $6.66, among others.

ITREALMS gathered that some 6,313 mobile data plans in 230 countries were gathered and analyzed by Cable, within the period under review.

This report, 
ITREALMS also gathered goes to dispute the insinuation by government officials that Nigeria ranks high on cost of data, which necessitated the purported intrusive policy direction from the office of Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.

As said by the minister, in a recent press statement made available to 
ITREALMS, “the directive followed incessant complaints he received from subscribers against the telecoms companies on the high cost and illegal deduction of data, which he said he would not allow to continue… data price being charged in Nigeria is among the highest even compared to countries that have far less population than Nigeria.”

Commenting on this, some industry observers described the claim above as fake news and wondered what has become the role of Research and Development Department of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
ITREALMS notes that with a population of over 197 million, Nigeria accounts for about 47 per cent of West Africa’s population and has one of the largest populations of youth in the world, according to the World Bank.

Also, the bank said, Nigeria has Africa’s biggest economy, is the biggest oil exporter, and has the largest natural gas reserves on the continent. Nigeria emerged from a recession in 2017, with a growth rate of 0.8 per cent, driven mainly by the oil sector. Non-agricultural growth, which remained negative up to the third quarter of 2017, strengthened through 2018 with services (primarily Information and Communication Technology, ICT) resuming as the key driver.

So, economic growth is expected to hover just above 2 per cent in 2019 and over the medium term.

Remmy Nweke/Editor

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UN award: Obi applauds Chimamanda, charges govts to include work in school curricula – ITREALMS

The former governor of Anambra State and Vice-Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Peter Obi, has applauded the internationally-renowned author, Chimamanda Adichie on her recent United Nations Foundations Global Award on literature, reports ITREALMS.

He also enjoined governments and agencies responsible for school curricula to ensure the inclusion of the works and master-pieces of Nigerian authors such as Chimamanda who is internationally-acclaimed for their literary prowess.

Speaking to correspondents on arrival at the international wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Obi who was among world leaders that converged in New York to celebrate the Chimamanda’s award which begets glory to the country.

“As you can see, I am just returning from New York where I witnessed the award to Chimamanda who has continued to conquer the literary world; thus bringing honour and glory to Nigeria. Each time I read her books or about her numerous value-added activities, I remember the wise one that preferred to discover a single demonstration in Geometry than win the throne of Persia,” he said.

Obi also said it was heart-warming to learn that Chimamanda was the first Nigerian to win the award, stressing “We address her as an ‘Award-Winning Author’ as she has won many quality honours through her writings and advocacy. In most cases, she was the first African to win certain categories of those awards”.

ITREALMS reports that Obi recalled his invitation to Chimamanda to Anambra State during his tenure as the Governor, and said it was part of his efforts to encourage the youths to adopt people like her as role models rather than men devoid of honour and integrity, whose only credentials was being lucky to make money.

Obi further called on governments and agencies responsible for school curricula to include the works and master-pieces of Nigerian authors such as Chimamanda who is internationally-acclaimed for their literary prowess and finesse.

Uj. N. Dominic/Editor

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Pix: Mr. Peter Obi (middle) and the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Amina Mohammed (right) shortly after Chimamanda Adichie (left) received the UN Foundations Global leadership Award for her work on literature.

Will Buhari ever call Pantami to order? - ITREALMS

Telecoms Act and intrusive Ministers:

The Telecommunication Act of 2003 that empowered the regulatory rights, functions and composition of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) appeared to have envisaged that someone like Dr Isa Pantami would one day become the minister of Communications.

So, it set out in its provisions to put a check on such a minister who would attempt to interfere in the work of the Commission and the sanity of the industry.

It is such clause, conspicuously written in that Act that has put in check Pantami’s predecessors who made attempts to infringe on the statutory rights of the Commission.

When will Buhari call Pantami to order?

This is what the Act says in respect of the minister’s relationship with the NCC in Section 23, chapter 3, part 1 titled Functions Of the Minister And National Frequency Management Council: “In execution of his functions and relationship with the Commission, the Minister shall at all times ensure that the independence of the Commission, in regard to the discharge of its functions and operations under this Act, is protected and not compromised in any manner whatsoever.”

Parameters for Ministers:

The Act limits the minister to:

· formulation, determination and monitoring, of the general policy for the communications sector in Nigeria with a view to ensuring, amongst others,

· utilization of the sector as a platform for the economic and social development of Nigeria ;

· negotiation and execution of international communications treaties and agreements, on behalf of Nigeria, between sovereign countries and international organisations and bodies ; and

· representation of Nigeria, in conjunction with the Commission, at proceedings of international organisations and for a on matters relating to communications.

… Even on policy formulation:

Even on policy formulation and review for the industry the minister is requested to cause the Commission on his behalf to first carry out a public consultative process on the proposed policy formulation or modification.

And on formulating and determining the policy or amendments thereto, the Minister and the Council are compelled to take into consideration the findings of the consultative process under subsection (1) of this section.

On general policy direction:

The Minister is also empowered to, in writing, from time to time, notify the Commission or and express his views on the general policy direction of the Federal Government in respect of the communications sector.

There is nowhere in the NCC Act the minister is allowed to control the work of the NCC and infringe on its operations, as he is currently doing.

ALSO READ: Voicemail: ALTON accuses Pantami of meddlesomeness - ITREALMS

NCC has operated in the past without interference, especially under the times of Presidents Olusegun Obadanjo, late Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan who ensured the NCC was not impaired in carrying out its functions.

We’ve seen likes of Pantami:

Those who tried to interfere with the running of the NCC, notably, the current governor of Kaduna, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai and late Dora Akunyili were put under check by Obasanjo. El-Rufai was at the time he tried to challenge the independence of the NCC, a director-general of the Bureau of Public Enterprise, while late Akunyili was minister of communications.

Is telecom regulator walking in tandem?

Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, who was Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, from 2000 to 2010, told the story of the shinning regulatory successes of the NCC, in a book titled: Ernest Ndukwe & Telecom Regulation- A Walk In Tandem, written by Aaron Ukodie thus: “The relative shinning performance of the NCC currently could be attributed to the fact that my predecessors were not as fortunate as I am. One operated under late Sanni Abacha, where the supposed regulator was not allowed to act on its initiatives.

Democracy and liberalized telecoms industry:

“But here we are in a civilian democratic government and pioneering, as it were, a complete liberalization of the telecoms industry.

“Here we with a President who understands what the independence of a regulatory body is, and who is anxious to see winning actions. All this, put together, places us at a vantage point to perform creditably”.

Though Nigeria is still under a democratic government, at least on paper, the acts of the current minister seem to suggest that democratic ethos would not be adhered to in the management of the sector.

Ministerial infringement reverses 20-year gains:

The current Executive Vice Chairman, Professor Umar Danbatta and his board of directors, have carried out their regulatory functions creditably well before the coming of Pantami, who now appeared to be using his alleged closeness to the president to seek to upturn the best regulatory practices of the industry and the NCC. Those watching the ongoing trend fear that should Pantami continues in infringements on the right of the NCC, and the president does not call him to order, the 20 years gains of the industry may begin to reverse.

*First published in eWorld by Aaron Ukodie, author and ICT analyst.

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Oxford@20: Fayemi, Tambuwal to speak on democracy in Nigeria - ITREALMS

The Governor of Ekiti State and the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Dr Kayode Fayemi, and the Governor of Sokoto State and the Deputy Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Mallam Aminu Tambuwal, will both speak at an International Conference on “20 Years of Democracy in Nigeria: 1999-2019” at Oxford University, United Kingdom on Friday, 6th December 2019.

The one-day Conference is hosted by the African Studies Centre, University of Oxford. Governors Fayemi and Tambuwal, who will be the special guests at the conference, are expected to reflect on Nigeria’s Fourth Republic in their addresses to the international audience.

Renowned American scholar of democracy and author of Class, Ethnicity and Democracy in Nigeria: The Failure of the First Republic, Professor Larry Diamond, will give the keynote address at the conference where many scholars based in Nigeria, Europe and the United States will present papers. Diamond will speak on “20 years of Semi-Democracy in Nigeria: Future Challenges for Democratic Development.”

The convener of the conference, Professor Wale Adebanwi, who is the Director of the Oxford African Studies Centre and Rhodes Professor of Race Relations states that: “As Nigeria celebrates two decades of democracy, the structural errors of the state and the fundamental contradictions of the society that democratic governance was expected to confront or manage have deepened. The hopes invested in the country’s return to democratic rule in 1999 seem to be flagging as Nigeria is confronted with a myriad of political, economic and social crises. Yet, given her historical experiences, there is no better alternative to democratic governance in Nigeria.” In light of this, the participants at the conference “will explore the political, economic and social forces, processes, and challenges which have shaped Nigeria in the Fourth Republic.”

Those expected to present papers at the conference include Professor Eghosa Osaghae, formerly the Vice Chancellor of the Igbinedon University, Dr Jubrin Ibrahim of the Centre for Democracy and Development, Abuja, Dr Peter Lewis of Johns Hopkins University, USA, Professor Adigun Agbaje of the University of Ibadan, Professor Okechukwu Ibeanu of INEC, Abuja, Dr Aliyu Moddibo Umar, former FCT Minister and currently a Visiting Fellow at Oxford University, Ms Idayat Hassan of the CCD, Abuja, Dr Zainab Usman of the World Bank, Dr Kingsley Moghalu, former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Professor Nic Cheeseman of Birmingham University, UK, Professor Rotimi Suberu of Bennington University, USA, Professor Ebenezer Obadare of the University of Kansas, USA, Dr Adam Higazi of the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Professor Ricardo Soares de Oliviera of Oxford University.

Ayo Midele/Editor

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Brighter future: Ovia urges Nigerian youth to disrupt innovations - ITREALMS

The founder and chairman, Zenith Bank plc, Mr. Jim Ovia has urged Nigerian youth to leverage technology and be part of the disruptive innovation eco-system, reports ITREALMS.

Ovia gave this charge at the Zenith Tech Fair in Lagos which commenced Wednesday at Landmark Centre, Victoria Island, in his welcome address.

According to him, "Catalyzing Disruptive Innovation through Youth Empowerment" will ensure that Nigerian youths and future of the country is bright.

The event which is a showcase of leading technology innovation across every aspects of life, Ovia encourage participants especially the youth to talk about technology, as the interest radiates from talking about what you think on a given innovation thereby proffering solution.

ITREALMS reports that the Country Director, Google Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, while dwelling on ‘Machine Learning and Quantum Computing: The Next Frontier’ that quantum computing is the future as it has potentials to change the way we live or think, hence Google said its ground breaking Sycamore superconducting quantum chip had taken just 200 seconds to complete a task that the world’s most powerful computer would need 10,000 years to finish.

She quoted Google chief executive, Sundar Pichai to buttress her point, saying that “With this breakthrough, we’re now one step closer to applying quantum computing to, for example, design more efficient batteries, create fertilizer using less energy, and figure out what molecules might make effective medicines.”

For the Managing Director of Huawei Technologies Nigeria, Mr. Eric Zhang on the ‘Opportunities for 5G in Nigeria,’ beckoned on participants to think about a world in which not just people but all things are connected cars to the roads they are on; doctors to the personal medical devices of their patients, augmented reality available to help people shop and learn and explore wherever they are.

“This requires a massive increase in the level of connectivity. 5G will impact every industry, from mobile phones to healthcare, autos, banking, manufacturing, distribution,” Zhang was quoted as saying by his represented at the occasion.

The 2019 Zenith Tech Fair with the main theme: Future Forward, is powered by Zenith Bank as a showcase of leading technology innovation across every aspect of life.

Chuks Egbuna/Editor

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Funnel e-logistic services debuts - ITREALMS

Nigeria’s pioneer e-logistics company, the Funnel Logistics Technologies Ltd, has launched its electronic courier aggregation platform, Funnel, reports ITREALMS.

The platform is an electronic facilitator for efficient and seamless request cum fulfilment of deliveries through the best courier operators across Nigeria.

The Funnel technology platform brings together customers in need of courier services and a diverse range of courier service operators at very competitive rates. Subscribers on the Funnel platform can request to have their parcels picked-up and delivered by their preferred courier services at highly discounted rates.

The Chief Executive Officer, Funnel Logistics Technologies Ltd, Mr. Tunde Oloyede, expressed their excitement over the launch of the pioneer service in the country.

“The Funnel platform provides innovative solutions to ease Nigerians’ everyday last-mile logistics pain points. At Funnel, our mission is to be the primary electronic facilitator for efficient request and fulfillment of deliveries across Africa” he said.

The Funnel technology platform can be used by retailers, e-commerce platforms and their customers. Social media retailers can initiate delivery requests from within their chats with customers; and customers of e-Commerce platforms can now choose and pay for their preferred delivery service during checkout. Best of all, anyone can request a pick-up and delivery to any part of Nigeria from their mobile phone/PC without placing a single call/message. Every step from the initiation of the request, to follow up, tracking deliveries and receipt of parcels, will all be done within our apps.

Oloyede further explained that users on the Funnel platform have a range of courier service providers to choose from, He said “We have partnered with the most reliable courier companies (DHL, FedEx, Smartpost, Rapiid, EMS, and many others), and negotiated highly discounted rates with them, to ensure that our users get the best value for their money”.

With the launch of Funnel into the Nigeria market, it is expected that Nigerians will be able to move their parcels, documents, and goods from one point to the other with significantly less hassle. All they need do is go to Funnel.ng to get started.

Once registration is completed, making a request or integrating businesses onto the Funnel platform takes just four simple steps which can be completed in less than 2 minutes.

The Funnel apps are easy to use for subscribers of all types; including individuals, businesses, e-Commerce platforms, online stores, warehouses and retailers. It has an intuitive dashboard that allows customers to track orders, provide businesses with various reports that can be used for decision making and planning, gives warehouses the flexibility to print their shipping labels easily.

“A critical bit of our model is to provide as many easy to use tools as possible (apps, plugins, APIs) that offer our potential users and clientele efficient and seamless access to delivery services from our courier partners. So, logistics is made easy for both the customer who is requesting a service and the services provider”. Oloyede said.

Chuks Egbuna/Editor

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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

ALTON @20: Cautions on hate speech, set to celebrate members - ITREALMS

All is now set for the 20th anniversary and award ceremony of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) billed for this Friday in Lagos, reports ITREALMS.

This is coming as ALTON warned top government officials overt hate speech against telecom operators, which is capable of causing civil unrest and vandalisation of telecommunications.

ALTON chairman, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo made this known in Lagos while speaking with ITREALMS on the 20th anniversary celebration.

He said, ALTON has impacted on the national socio—economic development of the country, and applauded Nigeria ICT Media for their support over the last 20 years and for telling the good story about the sector.

He also used the opportunity to clarify the rumour making a round in the industry that ALTON was a subset of anybody before now.

“We were never a subsidiary of any group of association and neither were we at any point in time a sub-set of another association,” he declared.

Adebayo pointed out that ALTON was formed in 1999, then known as the National Association of Telecom Operators (NALTO) and incorporated in the year 2000 as the Association Of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) a corporate body, duly registered under the laws of Federal Republic of Nigeria as an Incorporated Trustee, and officially recognized by the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and other regulatory agencies as the industry body for all providers of telecommunications and subsidiary services in Nigeria.

He insisted "We were never a subsidiary of any group of Association."

Emphasising that ALTON founding fathers, some of who are still with alive, constituted the association to address the peculiar early challenges faced by Private Telecom Operators (PTO) as they were called at the time, some of these were issues of signaling protocol issues, interconnectivity, billing issues, multiple regulation and taxation issues of right of way and protection of the overall interest of private investors in the sector, which at the time, NITEL the incumbent did everything possible to frustrate their existence.

Membership of ALTON, he told ITREALMS, includes all the major telecommunications licensees in Nigeria, particularly Mobile Network Operators (MNO) Infrastructure Companies (Infrocos) Fixed and Mobile Fixed voice and data operators across the various segments are all members of ALTON.

"Since inception, ALTON continues to play a key role in market development of the telecommunications industry. Its intervention on behalf of members on several issues such as challenges of multiple taxation, multiple regulations, rates and tariff determination, market competition, unfavorable government policies, Telecommunications as Critical National Infrastructure has been of immense benefit to the Nigerian telecommunications industry at large," he said.

ITREALMS reported that he paid special tribute to the first batch of board of trustees and executive members including Late General Tanko Ayuba Rtd, Chief Adebayo Akande, Chief Ezekiel Fatoye, Chief Mike Adenuga, Mrs. Alero Nwanna, Late Engr. Alaba Charles Joseph, Mrs. Arnina Oyagbola, Mr. Chandon Kelwal Ramani, Alhaji Bashir El-Rufai, Chief Maan Lababidi, Mr. Albert Mashi, Late Mr. Chioke Ogugua, Engr. Adamu M. Yahaya Treasurers | Chairman, Technical, late Mr. Chioke Ogugua Chairman, Legal/Regulatory, Engr. Bayo Banjo Chairman, Commercial/Finance, and Mr. Rueben Muoka Chairman, Publicity/Events.

Chuks Egbuna/Editor

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Simplify AI for students: Softcom, Data Science Nigeria partner - ITREALMS

In pursuant of its vision to solve some of Africa’s biggest challenges in identity, education, payment and data for people and businesses, Softcom is supporting easy access to artificial intelligence (AI) learning in partnership with Data Science Nigeria, reports ITREALMS.

At the Data Science Nigeria summit, which held recently, Softcom facilitated an Artificial intelligence masterclass for business executives, teaching businesses how to leverage Data for more effective business operations.

The Summit also saw the unveil and launch of the first ever AI book for primary and secondary schools in Nigeria.

Titled “Beginners’ Artificial Intelligence and Python Programming“, the book was written by the convener of Data Science Nigeria, Olubayo Adekanmbi, an experienced hands-on data scientist, doctoral researcher and business leader with 20 years of experience to introduce Nigerian students to the basics of AI in order to stimulate innovative thinking and drive for global competitiveness. Sponsored by Softcom the AI books will be distributed free to primary and secondary schools across Nigeria.

According to the CEO of Softcom, Yomi Adedeji, “We constantly strive to build solutions and technology that will positively impact lives. We recognise that leveraging artificial intelligence applications across all socio-economic sectors will can catalyse sustainable innovation and enable all-round societal impact. We also believe that artificial intelligence is critical for national competitiveness and local innovation, hence our drive towards democratizing AI, and making the knowledge available and accessible to everyone, from kids in primary schools to CEOs whose decisions shape the corporate future of our national business landscape”.

The one-day Artificial Intelligence Demystified masterclass for executives and business leaders was organised to help business decision-makers understand the concept of artificial intelligence, and its application, while imparting knowledge on how it can be used by Nigerian businesses for sustainable impact through innovative solution development, cost reduction and improved operational efficiency.

The masterclass was facilitated by some of world’s best including one of the fathers of artificial intelligence, Professor Thomas Dietterich, the US-based distinguished professor emeritus at Oregon State University and the founder of BigML. Other speakers at the summit were the Director of Data Science at the world’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer, US-based Walmart, Dr Emmanuel Doro; Facebook’s Research Scientist, Dr. Eric Sodomka; Dr. Nnnana Orieke, Cloud Solution Architect, Data and AI, Microsoft; Margaryta Ostapchuk, Software Engineer, Microsoft Canada; Sabrina Smai, Software Engineer, Microsoft Canada; Nicholas Litombe, US-based Solution Data Scientist; and Olubayo Adekanmbi, the Convener of Data Science Nigeria and Chief Transformation Officer, MTN Nigeria, among others.

Tomi Amao, Softcom’s Chief Technology Officer, stated: “At Softcom, we understand how access to AI knowledge can drive productivity, especially when technology is simplified to solve everyday problems in ways that improve how we live, learn and work in Africa.

Softcom, an indigenous technology company, is a leader in deploying technological solutions to solve socio-economic development challenges on the continent.

The company is known for its people-centric innovations aimed at shaping inclusive growth, and innovative products including Eyowo, Koya, DataBeaver and PassID.

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Appeal Court verdict: Anarchy in Oyo not acceptable says Afenifere - ITREALMS

The Pan-Yoruba Socio-Political Organisation, Afenifere, on Tuesday warned against any situation that could foist anarchy on Oyo State in respect of the ruling of the Court of Appeal on the Governorship election in Oyo State, reports ITREALMS.

Afenifere, in a communique made public after its meeting in Akure, Ondo state, condemned what it called “jurisprudential anarchy” daily unfolding in the country.

The communique, signed by Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin indicated that Afenifere at its meeting reviewed the ruling of the Court of Appeal on the Governorship election in Oyo state and resolved to warn against anarchy in a state that has history behind it.

The communique read: “Meeting reviewed the recent ruling of the Appeal Court on Oyo Gubernatorial Polls and was at a loss as to the jurisprudential anarchy daily unfolding in our judicial system.

“That one decision of court confused even the media for the next 48 hours is a challenge to our judiciary to always try and make itself clear to the ordinary people.
“It is our hope that the Supreme Court to which the parties have now headed will resolve the matter in the interest of justice and the integrity of the justice system.
“We do not want any upheaval in the city that has history behind it.”

The Afenifere also saluted the oldest privately-owned newspaper in Nigeria, Tribune newspapers for clocking 70 years on the newsstands.

Afenifere said: “That the newspaper has survived 70 years in a country whose graveyard has a section for failed publications is a testimony to its foundation of truth and integrity.
“We pray for continued survival of the paper without departure from the dreams of its founder.”

Afenifere also condemned what it called the third term agenda brewing in Abuja, the nation’s capital, adding that the idea should be perished immediately.

It said: “Meeting took serious note of the rumoured plans to subvert the Constitution of Nigeria to allow President Buhari to have a third term in office which started with a an APC Senatorial Candidate in Bauchi last year during ac bye-electiion declaring that he was coming to the Senate to work for a third term term for Buhari.

This was followed by the President who has a maximum of possible 8 years in office telling the country he was going to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in TEN years.
To douse the tension the rumoured plot is generating the President made a denial a few days ago which we took with a pinch of salt because it is not the first time politicians would pursue what they are denying in Nigeria swearing with God.

We have not forgotten that General Buhari told this country in 2011 that he would do only one term if he became President. 

He is now on a second term. He also promised Nigerians in 2015 that he would not have the office of the first Lady as President. He was mute when the wife issued an order that she must be addressed as First Lady and he has gone ahead to appoint 6 aides for the office.
Meeting also observed that the reason given for the President for not thinking of a third is the Constitutional limit of two terms without talking about what he would do if that hindrance was removed.
With the National Assembly in the pocket, the only hurdle left to change that provision would be two-thirds of Houses of Assembly and we have seen the President holding a meeting of 36 Speakers.
And shortly after this meeting, an APC member in Ebonyi State has approached a Federal High Court to compel the National Assembly to remove the constitutional impediments against third term for President and Governors.
“We have seen this fire before for this smoke not to be strange to us. Afenifere therefore calls on Nigerians to be vigilant and thwart any attempt to take the country for a ride once again.”

Ayo Midele/Editor

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Gender equality: It’s time for disruption! - ITREALMS

If you are a gender champion, then you are familiar with the discussions around the glass cliff. The story of women eager to defy the odds, accepting leadership roles at times of crisis, when the chance of failure is the highest. The truth is that many bold glass cliff climbers have succeeded without falling off.

Two of such champions come to my mind: the former Xerox CEO Anne Mulcah and Tokunboh Ishmael, co-founder of Aliethiea IDF.

Mulcah, Ishmael and likeminded agents of change have already shattered the status quo. So, when the first Global Gender Summit held in Africa kicks off on November 25th in Kigali, Rwanda, the international community will hurtle towards heeding the calls to dismantle barriers to women’s full participation and advancement economic development on the continent.

Women make up over 40 per cent of African business owners yet only 2 per cent are able to access finance according to a Mckinsey report. One in four women globally who start in a business come from Africa (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor).

The Summit, organised by the Multilateral Development Banks’ (MDBs) Working Group on gender, will be held in Africa for the first time ever, from the 25th to 27th November 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda. This year’s summit is hosted by the African Development Bank in partnership with the Government of Rwanda and supported by other multilateral development banks as key partners.

Under the theme “Unpacking constraints to gender equality,” the Global Gender Summit will share best practices and seek innovative solutions that can be harnessed to empower women and girls in Africa and around the world.

We are excited to be bringing the world to Rwanda, a country that has set a strong example when it comes to promoting women’s rights and representation.

Rwanda was the first country in the world with a female majority in parliament, currently at 67.5 %, following October parliamentary polls. Out of a total parliamentary membership of 80, women occupy 54 seats. This feat puts the nation ahead of even the most developed nations.

From the massive financing gap for women-led enterprises, inadequate data, laws and cultural norms that negatively affect women, to a lack of representation in business and politics, the challenges are great.

But the opportunities are there too.

Discussions will focus on the main barriers to achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment, namely: scaling up innovative financing, fostering an enabling environment and ensuring women’s participation and voices. Sectors to be addressed will include climate change, the digital revolution, private sector and human capital and productive employment.

In Africa, women-led enterprises face a whopping $42 billion financing gap. One of the Bank’s flagship gender-focused projects is its Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA), which seeks to accelerate growth and employment creation across African economies, by closing the financing gap for women.

Over the next 5 years, AFAWA is expected to unlock $3 billion in private sector financing to empower female entrepreneurs through capacity-building development, access to finance as well as policy, legal and regulatory reforms to support enterprises led by women.

Our Fashionomics Africa initiative supports the African textiles and fashion industries by building the capacities of small and medium-sized enterprises in the textile and clothing sector, especially those run by women and youth. By using technology as a driver for the development of skills and capacity in Africa’s creative industries, the African Development Bank aims to stimulate job creation on the continent. At the summit, we will unveil an innovative online marketplace for designers across the continent.

That’s just some of the exciting news. We will use the opportunity of the Global Gender Summit to launch a number of initiatives to dramatically transform the landscape of access to finance for women across the continent.

These include the Africa Gender Index- a joint African Development Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) report that assesses African countries on gender equality.

The launch of the AFAWA/AGF Risk Sharing Facility, which will de-risk lending to women through AGF’s partial, guarantees to financial institutions and its capacity development to women entrepreneurs.

As well as these continent-wide initiatives, we at the African Development Bank understand that change begins at home. That is why in 2018, the Bank rolled out its gender marker system to process, monitor, and promote gender mainstreaming in all its operations, with gender specialists as part of project teams and Bank operations.

By the end of last year, 40% of public sector Bank operations had been organised under the gender marker system, a major shift in the Bank’s way of doing business and commitment to gender mainstreaming.

We continue to support and build the individual power of girls and women across the countries we work in and never has the time been more urgent.

We expect the Global Gender Summit, to be a milestone event in the empowerment of women in Africa and beyond. See you there.

* This year’s Global Gender Summit, is hosted by the African Development Bank in partnership with the Government of Rwanda and supported by other multilateral development banks as key partners.

*Vanessa Moungar, Director of Gender, Women and Civil Society

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

70% of African women excluded financially say experts - ITREALMS

Participants at the 2019 Global Gender Summit have identified that an estimated 70 per cent of African women are excluded financially, even as there is some $42 billion financing gap between men and women on the continent, reports ITREALMS.

Drawn from multilateral development banks, financial institutions and the private sector, ITREALMS gathered that participants also called on peers to dispel myths about women being too “high risk” for financing and offer more financial services for women in business to close the gender finance gap.

“We know that women are a good bet. We know they pay back. We know they run excellent businesses – and yet they are not getting financed,” said Dr Jennifer Blanke, African Development Bank Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development.

An important step is for multilateral development banks to offer credit guarantees to commercial banks to invest in women entrepreneurs, Blanke said.

“We know that if we provide those guarantees, then the banks are going to be lending to a lot more women, and they are going to discover that women are an excellent bet – and are an excellent investment.”

Blanke and other leaders were speaking at the “Using Innovative Financing Mechanisms to Accelerate Finance for Women in Business” plenary panel session at the Global Gender Summit on Tuesday.

The international gathering of gender champions from government, finance institutions, multilateral development banks, civil society and private industry, runs from 25 - 27 November in Kigali, Rwanda.

Panelists acknowledged that strides have been taken to bring gender equity to financing. However, according to World Economic Forum data, at current rates of progress it will take at least 200 years to close the global pay gap between men and women.

Asian Development Bank’s Gender Lead, Sakiko Tanaka, noted this 2019 Global Gender Summit has seen increased awareness of the need for women’s financial inclusion to achieve gender equality.

“There’s more money coming in for gender equality. However, there are still major gaps globally and as well as in each region,” said Tanaka, who also serves as chairperson of the multilateral development bank working group on gender.

Women face unique constraints such as poorer access to collateral and land, running smaller business compared to male entrepreneurs and blurred lines between women’s personal and professional finance spend.

Wendy Teleki, Head of the We-Fi (Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative) Secretariat and the panel moderator, led the six panelists in exploring how financial institutions and multilateral development banks are innovating to expand women’s access to finance. Aside from risk-sharing interventions like credit guarantees to lenders, panelists said increasing women’s financial literacy was also key to closing the gender gap.

“It’s not about corporate social responsibility or charity,” said panelist Barbara Rambousek, Director for Gender and Economic Inclusion at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. “It is about developing that business case and developing a proper set of financial and non-financial services.”

In Africa, 70% of women are excluded financially and there is a $42 billion financing gap between men and women. Yet panelist Solomon Lartey, Managing Director and CEO of Activa International Insurance Ghana sees opportunity, particularly in West Africa, home to what he says is the world’s highest rate of women entrepreneurs.

“To get women where they want to be, we had to walk with them. The first thing is training them [about financial services], then granting them access to legal assistance and to financial education – we have to do all those things,” Lartey said.

The panel also discussed innovations related to financial technology, alternative credit information, and online tools for financial services as a way to grow businesses.

In some developing regions of the world, women face challenges getting basic documents like a birth certificate, required by commercial bank applications.

Tesi Rusagara, the head of Kigali Innovation City, said the more services for documentation and financing tools are brought online, the more value will be created for women.

John Wilson, CEO of Equity Bank, added that it is important to not only use data and technology in financial services, but to also have a physical presence where clients are, to make a human connection.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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Guterres names Anriette Esterhuysen chair of IGF-MAG - ITREALMS

The Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Mr. António Guterres has named Ms. Anriette Esterhuysen ‎as the new Chair of the Internet Governance Forum’s Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG), reports ITREALMS.

The Multistakeholder Advisory Group advises the Secretary-General on the programme of Internet Governance Forum annual meetings. It comprises 50 members drawn from Governments, the private sector and civil society, including representatives of the academic and technical communities.

Ms. Esterhuysen, a South African, currently serves as a Commissioner on the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace. She was the executive director of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) - the largest ICT-focused civil society network in the world - from 2000 to 2016.

She continues to work with APC as a consultant and convenes the African School on Internet Governance (AfriSIG) a joint initiative of APC, the African Union Commission and Research ICT Africa. Ms. Esterhuysen has served on the African Technical Advisory Committee of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa's African Information Society Initiative (1996-1999), the United Nations ICT Task Force (2002-2005), the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Working Group on Financing Mechanisms (2003-2005), the Commission on Science and Technology for Development Working Group on Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Improvements (2011-2012) and on Enhanced Cooperation (2017-2018), the Global Commission on Internet Governance and the Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) of the IGF (2012-2014). She was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame as a Global Connecter in 2013.

The Secretary-General expresses his deep appreciation to Ms. Lynn St. Amour, outgoing Chair of the Multistakeholder Advisory Group, for her leadership and able guidance since 2016.

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Monday, November 25, 2019

FirstBank, Linda Ikeji TV partner on First Class Material – ITREALMS

First Bank of Nigeria Limited has advanced partnership with Linda Ikeji TV for the broadcast of the TV show, First Class Material, reports ITREALMS.

The show, ITREALMS gathered, is billed to premiere on all FirstBank and Linda Ikeji TV platforms across the web and social media on Tuesday 26th November at 8am and reposted at 7pm same evening- Nigerian time.

First Class Material is a programme which aims to chronicle the success stories of Nigerians who are distinct and exemplary in their achievements and importantly, a testament to the greatness of the West African country.

The weekly show would have viewers exposed to Nigerians across the globe that have carved a niche for themselves by being exemplary and influential in their chosen endeavours and career path. Success stories of notable firsts and trailblazers would be highlighted, with viewers encouraged to go beyond limits and leave no stone unturned at making their dreams a reality.

Amongst the success stories to be broadcasted through the course of the 6 months weekly programme is brilliance of Ifeoma Thorpe-White, a 17 year-old Nigerian immigrant admitted into all eight Ivy League schools in the United States, including Stanford & Harvard universities.

Speaking on the TV show, Folake Ani-Mumuney, the Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, First Bank of Nigeria Limited said “First Class Material is a celebration of notable Firsts by Nigerians which underscores what First Bank of Nigeria Limited stands for. The essence of the TV programme is to have many more people informed and encouraged by the successes, thereby having these feats emulated in their chosen endeavours.”

“We are excited about this partnership with Linda Ikeji TV and remain committed to celebrating the successes of Nigerians which indeed resonates the theme of FirstBank’s 125 anniversary, thus “Woven into the Fabric of Society”, she concluded.

Also speaking, Nigeria’s renowned celebrity blogger, Linda Ikeji said “being the first to do something is remarkable. It defines and shapes paths for others to follow. And it can be truly inspiring when one is partnering with a company such as FirstBank – an institution of many firsts’’.

Uj. N. Dominic/Editor

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Why take a walk? - ITREALMS

When children are born, they crawl before walking. Walking is seen as the ability to stand by oneself and move around.

In the villages, we walk several miles or better still trek very often until recent times when roads became motorable and mobility of all kinds began to surface; including motorbikes, motor vehicles, tricycles of today, to name but a few.

With all these means of mobility available to us, there is need to exercise caution before we become slaves to our properties including the means of moving about with cars.

There is obvious temptation for those who are blessed to own a car to even assume the status of ‘no more trekking’ and this is even worse when relatives and friends unconsciously encourage this by asking about their mobility or mobilities for those with more than one, rathr than asking about their health or wellbeing. It is even alarming that once friends see you, they ask about your means of mobility first before anything else including before asking after your health, which should be uppermost as human beings.

In the olden days, you may greet someone but if you did you ask after his health and family, definitely you are not a friend; these were seen as mark of priority concern for an average well-meaning individual before now.

Okey is a self-employ Lagosian, who has had a cause to trek on the days he had to work strictly at the office and have no reason whatsoever to bring his car to the office which is less than 400 metres. And because most of his daily job activities entails sitting down, he developed an instinct to walk to work, when there is no field work attached.

But to his utmost surprise on the second day, a customer while greeting him, first asked what happened? Initially he did not get the gist until the customer repeated himself with emphasis on the car because as he puts it, “I saw you yesterday trek pass my office?”

On getting the gist eventually, Okey had retorted that, there is nothing wrong, he merely wanted to take a walk. And he said “ok, I for say.” Although, he did not wait for further discuss or what the man would have loved to say, but maintained that “Everything is ok, I just wanted to walk to the office” and continued with his walk towards home.

A few days later, he had to bring the children to school via motorbike popularly known as ‘Okada’ because it was his turn for school-run and he had a meeting in the next hour and would not want to be on ‘school-run’ traffic, which has become a part of Lagos traffic menace.

Surprisingly on getting to the school gate, he was accosted by one of the friendly teachers with question, “what happened?” probably seeing him on a bike and he answered “nothing, just running late.” He probably got the gist quicker this time around.

A colleague once complained that nowadays, “you no longer drive around, what happened to your car?” simply because he will love to join you in the car. For this friend, when anyone like Okey, who owns a car suddenly stopped moving around with his car, it depicts something is wrong, mostly economically.

Then again, at a recent function, it was amazing to hear family members asking in the village when they saw Okey, “I did not see your vehicle, so I did not know you were in town. Hope all is well.” In fact, the first of such question, according to Okey when he traveled home last, was asked the question from his father and then some friends of the mother. Of course, he was firm in telling that he felt like taking a break in driving around, hence he used public transport.

In all these, what came to mind have been why people took so much interest in other peoples kind of mobility with even more emphaises on cars and how you walk to work or get to places around town in this 21st century.

Defined by Physical Therapist, as a move at a regular pace by lifting and setting down each foot in turn, never having both feet off the ground at once and for experts, there are some health benefits of walking.

Benefits of walking:

According to health experts, walking increases cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness; reduce risk of heart disease and stroke; improved management of conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, joint and muscular pain or stiffness, and diabetes; as well as enables stronger bones and improved balance.

Physical activity, such as walking, said health experts at MayoClinic, is important for weight control because it helps individual to burn calories. “If you add 30 minutes of brisk walking to your daily routine, you could burn about 150 more calories a day.”

Bob Curley of HealthLine.com quoted researchers as saying that a quick walking pace is a good cardiovascular workout, which depends largely on a person’s overall health.

Curley on his piece, “Why Fast Walkers May Live 15–20 Years Longer Than the Rest of Us” noted that taking a brisk walk could increase odds of living longer, and may not matter how much the weight when on slips on walking shoes, a new study suggests.

People who have a quicker walking pace lived longer than those who walked more slowly, according to researchers who monitored the walking habits and deaths of nearly 475,000 people, most of whom were in their 50s at the start of the study.

They defined ‘Brisk walking’ as walking at least three miles per hour, or 100 steps a minute. Although, walking pace was self-reported by participants, who were asked to indicate whether they walked at a slow pace, steady/average pace, or brisk pace.

Equally they observed that with brisk walking paces had longer life expectancies across all categories of Body Mass Index (BMI), according to the study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

For most adults, an ideal BMI is in the 18.5 to 24.9 range and if your BMI is below 18.5, experts say “you're in the underweight range.” While children and young people aged 2 to 18, normally the BMI calculation takes into account age and gender as well as height and weight. Whereas low weight is a high-risk in this equation.

A clinical epidemiologist at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom and the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Francesco Zaccardi, said the survival is the same for fast walkers for a wide range of body mass index, from 20 to 40.

“This result indicates that physical function is a stronger determinant of longevity than body mass index, and also people with high body mass index but with a good fitness may survive longer,” he said, outlining that participants with slower walking paces had shorter life expectancies across all categories of BMI.

Researchers reported that women who walked more quickly had a life span of about 87 years compared to 72 years for women who walked slowly.

Men who walked quickly had a life span of about 86 years compared to 65 years for men who walked more slowly, which is a 15-year average difference for women and a 20-year average difference for men.

“What this tells me is if you’re walking faster you’re doing a very low-intensity form of cardio, and if done on a regular basis, it will strengthen and condition your heart. So, whether you’re overweight or in shape, fast walking does have positive physical effects on your body and life expectancy,” Jamie Hickey, a certified personal trainer and nutritionist at Truism Fitness.
It would be recalled that Nigerian-born music star and mental health advocate, Korede Bello, performed at the World Health Organisation’s Walk the Talk: The Health for All Challenge event on Sunday 19 May, 2019, in Geneva.

Bello, who is a supporter of the United for Global Mental Health organization, said that his passion for mental health through his music cannot be over-emphasised at a session on “Leaving no one behind” where he featured alongside other mental health advocate, Cynthia Germanotta and co-founder, Born This Way Foundation with her daughter Lady Gaga.

Considering the effects of walking, it is therefore, important to take notice of their health by taking charge of their earthly possessions rather than the reverse being the case. So, next time when you see a car owner trekking or taking a walk, its not because there is an economic problem. Make taking a walk a daily exercise.

*Remmy Nweke/DoP

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Best travel agency award goes to Finchglow - ITREALMS

One of the largest travel management companies in Nigeria and International Air Transport Association (IATA) certified Category A Travel Agency, the Finchglow Travels, has been honored as the 'Best Travel Agency' of the year at the Balearica Awards (Nigeria Tourism Awards) held in Lagos, reports ITREALMS.

The award was presented to the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) Mr. Bankole Bernard of Finchglow Group, the parent company of Finchglow Travels at the weekend.

According to the company's spokesperson Ms. Olamide Oni, the GCEO was quoted as saying that they were glad to have been named the 'Best Travel Agency' in Nigeria, which was determined by the votes of the citizens. 

ALSO READ: Finchglow Travels Train Trade Partners In Abuja - ITREALMS

“I would like to specifically thank first and foremost, our customers from all over this prestigious nation for the strong vote of confidence. Thanks to the entire staff of Finchglow Travels who always make extraordinary efforts to satisfy our customers. We have grown to establish our branches in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt delivering efficient services to our customers and trade partners."

"As a customer-centric organization, we always ensure that we meet and exceed our customers’ expectations through our unrivaled services and dedication. I would like to use this medium to reassure our customers of our commitment to providing the very best of service. We continue to support smart initiatives like the Nigerian Travel Week and we look forward to seeing it grow bigger in the coming years."

Nigeria Travel Week is a week-long travel and tourism event that seeks to help the growth and development of the industry, while showcasing organizations and individuals putting in work to build the sector. With a focus on positioning travel and tourism to become the new oil in Nigeria, the organizers of the event have continued to introduce new frameworks to see this happen.

While much has evolved in the industry, Finchglow Travels has stood the test of time and it continues to expand in line with its set vision. Having been established in 2006, the agency has built a solid reputation and has continued to soar even in the digital age by adopting excellence as its watchword.

Uj. N. Dominic/Editor

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Pix: Mr. Ezekiel Ikotun, Chief Operating Officer, Finchglow Travels; flanked by (L-R) Miss Temitope Aina, Deputy Head of Sales, Lagos; Miss Margaret Etuk, Account Manager, Ademola Branch and other members of the team.